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Lamar University remembers Paul Zeek

Lamar University honors the life of Paul Zeek, who passed away June 11. He loyally served Lamar University for more than 35 years, retiring in August 2006 as the university’s senior associate athletics director. Paul Zeek

Zeek, a native of Youngstown, Ohio, who grew up in El Paso, TX, was lured to the Gulf Coast in 1963. That was the year legendary coach Bum Phillips took the head football coach position at Port Neches-Groves High School. He recruited Zeek, who had graduated from Texas Western College (now known as UTEP), to become an athletic trainer under the tutelage of Hall of Fame Trainer Ross Moore. Philips hired Zeek as PN-G’s first athletic trainer.

In 1965, Zeek became the athletic trainer at Brazosport High School in Freeport where he served for 6 years, and in 1971 he was hired at Lamar University as head athletic trainer over all intercollegiate sports. In addition to his training duties, he also headed the "Specialization in Athletic Training" program that sent numerous graduates into athletic training jobs in the professional, collegiate and high school ranks. In this capacity he oversaw the education of dozens of student athletic trainers.

“Paul was a true professional. His training room was always spotless, well supplied, and manned with the help of his student interns,” said W.S. “Bud” Leonard, who was an administrator at LU working closely with Zeek. “Paul not only gave his student assistants valuable "tools" for being a first-class trainer. His chief concern was to provide the finest rehab possible and to teach valuable life lessons. He taught that as a pro, you had to be on time, give each patient your undivided attention, know what you were doing or trying to accomplish, never guess and ask for help. Above all, Paul would say, ‘Don’t call me coach. I'm not coach. Paul was proud of his profession and the work he did to provide excellent care for all our student athletes.”

Zeek was inducted into the National Athletic Training Association Hall of Fame in 1989, and was a member of the Southwest Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame. He was named NATA National Trainer of the Year in 1981 and was the 1988 recipient of the Frank Median Award from the SWATA for outstanding service to the organization.

Zeek was also a instructor in the Department of Health and Kinesiology. 

Paul completed his Lamar tenure as the Senior Associate Athletic Director where his chief responsibility included NCAA and Southland Conference compliance. Due to his vast experience, he also played a large role in the day to day operations of the athletic department up to his retirement in August of 2006. 

The family requests any memorials be made to the Paul T. Zeek Lamar University Student Athletic Trainer Scholarship at Lamar University Foundation, P.O. Box 11500, Beaumont, TX 77710 for the Paul T. Zeek Lamar University Student Athletic Trainer Scholarship or www.lamar.edu/give.